UCL Grand Challenges


Our priorities

Over the coming years, the UCL Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding will prioritise work under a set of Priority Themes, including one Mega Theme, India Voices, cross cutting the work of all six Grand Challenges.

These subjects of research will be foremost in the work of the Grand Challenge.

The Priority Themes for the UCL Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding


This academic year (2016-17), the Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding is helping to support a range of activities at UCL.

India Voices

There is a strong match between India’s priorities for development and the expertise within the UCL Grand Challenges. These issues include sustainable cities and rapid urbanisation; public health and well-being; the energy-water-food nexus; and education and job-creation. Solutions pioneered in India have regional applications and global resonance. As part of the UCL Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding, the India Voices programmes will be cross-disciplinary in scope while being grounded in disciplinary excellence. Through community engaged research, public and academic discourse and policy engagement they aim to effect social impact.

In the first of our India Voices activities we will be partnering with the Difficult Dialogues forum in Goa, India. Difficult Dialogues is an annual conference which examines issues of contemporary relevance in South Asia. In 2017, we will be exploring the Grand Challenge India faces in providing access to health and healthcare for all citizens. It will include discussions under four broad themes: Inequalities in Health and Healthcare; Perceptions of Gender and Consequences for Health; Universal Health (Care) Coverage; and The Changing Burden of Disease.

Find out more about India Voices and the activities we have planned.

Growing Up Multicultural

In increasingly multicultural places like London, there are fascinating issues around language, migration, identity and education that are being explored in an ever-changing environment. The Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding is keen to explore these issues through cross disciplinary research. We recently held a workshop which started to identify appropriate themes for further study. We intend to launch a funding call on this theme shortly; grants of up to £4,000 will be made available, for interdisciplinary research on this fascinating topic.